C.H.U.D. is an acronym for “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers” so you know what kind of movie you’re getting into right out of the gate. It’s pure 1980’s cheese, a movie about New York’s underground homeless being mutated into flesh-eating monsters.
Our protagonist is a photographer named George Cooper who is friends with people in the homeless community who he photographs to shed some light on their experience. The other two protagonists are a detective and a man who runs the soup kitchen and is known as “the Reverend” played by Daniel Stern, who would later find fame as one of the burglars in Home Alone.
The detective starts to take an interest in the homeless underground when people begin to disappear at an alarming rate over a two week period. The homeless who are left are looking for weapons. They’re living in constant fear of something dwelling down in the sewers with them.
The movie is definitely better than a movie called C.H.U.D has any right to be. There’s a plot at work here and one that was clearly thought out, but it takes a little too long to get going.
There’s a good level of suspense to C.H.U.D, it just goes on a little too long before the monsters show up. On the other hand, this is admirable given that teasing the monster had already become a rarity by the mid-1980’s. The characterization is strong and natural and this helps the movie out a lot.
When the effects show up, they’re pretty good and the C.H.U.D themselves are very well-designed and not the usual zombies. C.H.U.D is not an overly gory movie, but it really doesn’t need to be in order to work. It’s more fantastical and even a little too plot driven to just showcase the carnage being wrought by the monsters. It leaves a lot to the imagination. But at the same time, it has the sense of humor that a movie like this needs.
C.H.U.D is an effective little monster movie and is actually fairly underrated. It’s a silly concept treated as seriously as possible without being too serious, and it has some substance while still giving the B-movie fans everything they’re looking for. It’s definitely worth a late-night viewing and offers a mix of carnage and mystery. Look for John Goodman in a small role as well.
WICKED RATING: 6/10
Director(s): Douglas Cheek
Writer(s): Parnell Hall
Stars: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry
Studio/ Production Co: New World Pictures